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CD Review

Johannes Brahms

Choral Works

  • Triumphlied, Op. 55
  • Ave Maria Op. 12
  • Schickalslied, Op. 54
  • Nanie, Op. 82
Bo Skovhus, baritone
Danish National Choir/DR
Danish National Symphony Orchestra/Gerd Albrecht
Chandos CHAN10165 55m DDD
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This disc complements a recent 'German Requiem' by the same forces but the music on offer here is given a much more earth shaking boost in comparison to that rather sedate performance of the previous work. Albrecht chooses four contrasting choral pieces that range from the loud and powerful to the beseeching and pensive.

I greatly enjoyed this fine interpretation of the 'Triumphlied', one of my favourite Brahms works. The choral enunciations of Halleluljah are truly earth shattering and the beefy Chandos recording adds power and majesty to what is already a towering work. By contrast, the spiritually pensive 'Ave Maria' makes a perfect interlude after the almost exhaustive perorations of its predecessor.

The 'Song of Destiny' is also very beautifully done here with the Danish strings playing like angels although I would be hard pressed to choose between this recording and Sinopoli's equally ravishing account on DG which was my first introduction to this work. The same could be said of 'Nanie' which is also peerlessly played and sung but lacks that last ounce of exorability that informs the lamented Sinopoli's reading on DG.

Nothwitsanding these minor gripes, I would not hesitate to recommend the newcomer to this splendidly recorded disc. Notes and texts are provided although the playing time is slightly below par for a full price release. However, I do look forward to further releases from this source, a complete recording of 'Rinaldo', perhaps?

Copyright © 2004, Gerald Fenech